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A Raisin in the Sun Character Summary

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A Raisin in the Sun Character Analysis

      The Younger family of A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is made up of: Walter Younger, Beneatha Younger, Lena (Mama) Younger, Ruth Younger, and Travis Younger. Another character in this play is also Joseph Asagai. Mama is Beneatha and Walter’s mother. Ruth is Walter’s wife and Travis’ mother.

      Joseph Asagai is a Nigerian exchange student who came to learn and then take back his knowledge back to Africa. He typifies the African American male who is proud of his heritage and his roots. He does not want to assimilate into American culture. Asagai foreshadows movements of black pride and groups such as the Black Panthers who are proud of their roots. He symbolizes Africa and one of the extremes of the debate of black people assimilating into white American culture. He forces Beneatha to question her identity and what it means to be an African American.

      Beneatha, who is in her early twenties, represents the women’s rights movement and progression. She aspires to become a doctor, and is a very ambitious woman. She wants to stand on her own two feet and be proud of who she is. Beneath also represents some of the educated African Americans of the time as she was going to college. She sees the racial disparities going on around her and still wants to push forward. She is torn trying to find her identity in the world. She is being pulled on both sides to conform into American culture by her boyfriend George or be proud of her heritage and where she came from by her suitor Joseph.

      Ruth serves as the typical black housewife of the time. She only wants what is best for her family. She strives to make do with what little they have. She is depicted as an emotionally strong black woman dealing with the issues of domestic dilemmas and poverty. She deals with the emotional stress that the lack of money puts on her relationship with Walter mostly in silence.

      Walter is characterized as the...

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